Capt. Kristen Griest is officially the first female infantry officer in the U.S. Army. It’s an epic, overdue, and well-earned title. After applying for an exception to Army policy to transfer from military police to infantry, Griest graduated from the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course on Thursday, wearing the blue infantry cord.
It’s a magnificent, historic moment, following a trail of notable accomplishments since her 2011 West Point graduation. Along with 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, Griest became one of the first women to graduate from Ranger School in August, with a third, Maj. Lisa Jaster, graduating two months later.
It was only last year that the U.S. military knocked down the gender barrier, allowing women to serve in all combat roles, and the near future already looks to be very reflective of the policy change. In April, the Army announced that 22 female cadets had requested and been approved to enter as second lieutenants in infantry and armor branches. Ultimately, 13 will go to armor and 9 will go to infantry.
As Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has previously explained, “An incremental and phased approach by leaders and soldiers who understand and enforce gender-neutral standards will ensure successful integration of women across the breadth and depth of our formations.“